Within the past 2 months, Team Liquid has revamped its roster, adding tons of firepower. They cut fugly in exchange for s1mple, a Ukrainian player who is dominant with the AWP and rifles alike. Now they have cut their in-game-leader adreN, in exchange for North America’s hottest prospect, former NME AWP’er Koosta. Now, Team Liquid has a star studded lineup that will likely dominate in North America through sheer skill. The only problem? This lineup is destined to fail in international play.
Team Liquid’s new lineup is by far the most talented in North America. They have, in my opinion, the best pure entry fragger in North America, Elige. I have been quite high on elige ever since he first joined Liquid. His aim is insane, and he is a very smart person, being the valedictorian of his high school. Other entry fragger, Nitr0, is only complimented by Elige’s skill set. Nitr0 is regarded by many NA’s best active player, and at the very least, he is top 3. They have Hiko, known for some insane clutches, who is the best unbanned lurker in North America (RIP Swag). He also brings experience and maturity to this lineup. Recent addition, s1mple, is regarded by many as one of the scenes best players. Thoorin recently said that s1mple “could have been a top 5 player of 2015, hes that good.” Lastly, recently added AWP’er, Koosta, is the top rising prospect in NA, and has shown excellent play. This lineup far exceeds the skill level of any NA team, and with the disappearance of the NA masterminds (seangares being the last to fall), they will likely dominate North America.
Yet, history has shown us that this lineup will not succeed in international tournaments. The only times in recent memory that non-European line-ups have come close to dethroning the Europeans are Cloud9 during the summer, and Luminosity Gaming as of late. And the reasons these two did as well as they did was because they had/have a high skill level, and they were able to out tactic their opponents. With Cloud9 in the summer, shroud and skadoodle played out of their minds, and did far better than you could ever ask. With Luminosity right now, Coldzera and Fer have played particularly strong. Yet, that alone is not what allowed Cloud9 and Luminosity to succeed as much as they did, for as good as they played, these lineups could not compete with the talent of some European lineups. What allowed these teams to be successful in Europe were their tactics. Seangares and Fallen showed some of the best calling and leading Counter Strike has seen. Seangares with his antistratting to the point of knowing exactly what the other team was going to be doing, and Fallen with his innovation. This Liquid lineup is certainly more skilled than Cloud9 in the summer, and Luminosity right now, but unlike those teams, this lineup will not out-tactic the top Europeans. And if they can’t out tactic the Europeans, they have to outskill them. And do you really think this lineup could purely outskill the star studded lineups Europe offers (Fnatic and EnVyUs)? And as for the Europeans who have high skill, and tactics (Astralis, NaVi, VP), I am of the opinion these Europeans would read liquid like a book, and would make them look silly.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that this lineup would be fun to watch against teams like FaZe and NiP. I am of the opinion this lineup will be anywhere between 8-10th in the world. I also believe Liquid made the best roster that they could have with the available pieces. The problem, is that there aren’t enough pieces available. The ones they need are either stuck in counter strike jail (Dazed, maybe Steel), busy with girlfriends (Seangares), or not discovered yet. While certainly an improvement on the old Liquid roster, I am not excited about this roster, because I know this roster does not have what it takes to be one of the top teams in the world.